Shigeo Fukuda 1932 – 2009

shigeo fukuda 1Shigeo Fukuda was born on the 4th of February, 1932 in Tokyo to a family of toy manufacturers, and died on the 11th of January, 2009 in Tokyo, after suffering a subarachnoid hemorrhage.

As a youngshigeo fukuda 2 boy, Fukuda became interested in and enjoyed making origami (the Japanese art of paper folding). When he entered his teen years he became intensely influenced by the philosophy of “The International Style”, or “The Swiss Style”; which was a reflection of the modernist and constructivist ideals. Fukuda was interested in the styles’ authentic pursuit of simplicity, and the idea that the beauty is inherent in the foundation of a purpose, and the purpose of art was appealing to him. In other words, he followed “The International Style’s” keen attention to detail, precision, craft skills, and supported a system of graphic design education and technical training that would aim at a higher standard of craftsmanship and art in design and printing as well as a clear refined and inventive lettering and typography.

shigeo fukuda 3Fukuda graduated from the “Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music” in 1956.  In 1966, Fukuda’s work gained prominence at a Czechoslovakian graphic design competition, and in the subsequent year his posters for Montreal’s “Expo ’67” brought him the fame. His reputation began to snowball when Paul Rand noticed his work in an issue of Japanese Graphic Design Magazine. In 1997, Fukuda had his own personal exhibition “An artist of visual wit” at “The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo”. And in 1999, the Japan Foundation in Toronto presented the show “Visual Prankster: Shigeo Fukuda.”

shigeo fukuda 4“I believe that in design, 30% dignity, 20% beauty and 50% absurdity are necessary.shigeo fukuda 5 Rather than catering to the design sensitivity of the general public, there is advancement in design if people are left to feel satisfied with their own superiority, by entrapping them with visual illusion.”

-Shigeo Fukuda

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